Efficacy of glow discharge gas plasma treatment as a surface modification process for three-dimensional poly (D,L-lactide) scaffolds

Harvey Chim, Joo L. Ong, Jan Thorsten Schantz, Dietmar W. Hutmacher, C. Mauli Agrawal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Gas plasma surface modification of three-dimensional poly (D,L-lactide) scaffolds fabricated by a novel vibrating particle fabrication technique was demonstrated to enhance cell adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation over 10 days in culture using human embryonic palatal mesenchyme cells. Characterization of corresponding two-dimensional treated surfaces revealed decreased contact angle measurements of 54.2 ± 0.6° for treated surfaces compared to 72.3 ± 0.7° for control surfaces (p < 0.05). SEM of treated surfaces revealed increased surface roughness combined with marked pitting and erosion. This may contribute to increased cell adhesion. WST-1 cell proliferation assay measurements as an index of cell numbers revealed a statistically significant increase in proliferation activity on treated surfaces on days 1 and 4 compared with controls. There was a fivefold increase in WST-1 activity for both control and treated groups over 10 days. Confocal laser micrographs revealed increased cell numbers on treated specimens throughout all layers of the scaffold, indicating that the glow discharge process enhanced cell proliferation throughout the entire scaffold architecture. Scanning electron micrographs demonstrated increased cell adhesion for treated specimens at the polymer surface most evident after days 1 and 4 of culture. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)-specific activity peaked by day 7 for control and treated surfaces, indicating cellular differentiation. There was a trend for increased protein production on the treated specimens compared with controls at the initial time points although the differences were not statistically significant. These results demonstrated that gas plasma surface modification enhances osteoblast-like cell function in a three-dimensional scaffold model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-335
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Bone
  • Gas plasma
  • Glow discharge
  • Poly (D,L-lactide)
  • Surface modification
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys


Dive into the research topics of 'Efficacy of glow discharge gas plasma treatment as a surface modification process for three-dimensional poly (D,L-lactide) scaffolds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this